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Friday Flash Fiction – “Old News”

 “You ever seen that before?”

The two boys stopped the absorbing business of shooting B-B’s at cow pies to stare at the pick-up truck.

“No, but I never been on this end of the farm, neither.”

“What a rusted out heap.  Let’s go sit in it!”

Bouncing on the remaining seat springs and fighting over the steering wheel, a foot prodded a bag in the floorboard.

“What’s in that?”

“How am I supposed to know?  Open it up.”

They poured the cash onto the seat between them; read the brittle newspaper story of a long-ago robbery and shooting.

“There’s something else in this bag.  Looks like an old wallet.”

The leather cracked when it opened, the license yellowed around the black and white photo.

“Ummm….It’s your Dad.”


Dialogue is an important element to any fiction – long or short. Author and former private investigator, Gayle Bartos-Poole, states,

“It provides plot advancement, character development, and action or movement. In other words, it brings the story to life.

A character blurting out information that advances the plot is far more interesting than a long narrative description.

Through dialogue we discover character traits about the various people who populate our stories. How a person speaks and acts while talking says a lot more about him or her than mere words.

And dialogue provides real time action. You are in the room with the characters as they speak. You’re eavesdropping or right in the middle of the conversation. Or the character might be speaking directly to you.”

How did dialogue affect this piece?  Would the pace have been different if a narrative style had been employed?  As a reader, what do you look for in dialogue?

Leave a comment below, and link to your own flash fiction if possible.

Want more Flash Fiction? Visit these Friday Fictioneers for more 100-word heaven! (If you have a flash fiction piece to share, please leave a link in Comments!) You can also visit the originator of the photo prompts, Madison Woods, or follow the gang on Twitter – #FridayFictioneers.


21 thoughts on “Friday Flash Fiction – “Old News”

  1. Oooh, I LIKE it! Great suspense created thru the use of dialogue. I wonder what happens next?
    BTW, I always wonder that with these Flash Fiction stories and have yet to read the story completed! Help, cliff-hanger, need rope! LOL, love it, keep it comin’!

  2. I like your idea and the dialogue is great. It was an entertaining read. In my subjective opinion the resolution was too staged. It is presented on a platter. I wonder why the father left the cash in the car. The newspaper article on the robbery implies that it was stowed away at least a day afterwards. Why would he leave his wallet with the incriminating evidence? 🙂
    I struggle writing dialogues. I live in Germany and write in English, therefore it is difficult for me to write in a certain accent or slang.
    Here is the link to my piece:

  3. This was really enjoyable and fun to read through, as though watching any group of country kids. Immature, silly, and adventurous. Then in the car, that last attitude lead to something new that really changed a lot, considering the marvellous twist.

    Without out the dialogue, it probably would’ve been far more boring, to answer your question. I mean, they’d still have been shooting cow pies, but you wouldn’t have connected with the characters as much, and the twist might’ve fallen more bland.

    Tell me what you think of mine. Unlike yours, it isn’t dialogue, but I felt that narrative was appropriate there. http://littlewonder2.wordpress.com/2012/03/30/friday-fictioneers-abandoned/

  4. I agree that dialogue can add pace and realism to a story and I like what you tried to do here, but it can also be boring if the characters are going a long way around (as realistic dialogue often does) and feel forced if they say unrealistic things. It’s a tricky balance to get right, but I think you have a good eye for that.

    Personally, I think the last line comes out a bit pat – if the wallet is so old and the cash has been there so long, the photo probably wouldn’t be instantly recognisable. The name might be, but a lot of kids don’t know their friends’ parents names. I think I’d have liked more tension in this section (and you could cut some fluff from earlier for word count.) For example “Hey, he’s a Thompson like you.” “What? Let me see?” “Shit.” “Isn’t that your Dad?” Or some such.

    Also, the line “a foot prodded a bag” didn’t work for me – “a foot” is odd phrasing.

  5. I liked the set-up and love the use of dialogue. It’s hard for me to include enough dialogue to get in all the backstory I need, but my crit group is constantly letting me know that I’m ‘infodumping’, lol, and remind me to use dialogue more.

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